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    College Planning Blog

    Legacy Boosts College Admissions

    by Kevin Krebs on January 11, 2019 in College Admissions Counseling


    When it comes to college admissions, “legacy” means the applicant potentially receives some sort of preferential treatment by having had a parent graduate from that school, and sometimes a grandparent, sibling or even an aunt or uncle. There’s no question it’s an actual thing.   Legacy noted   That said, there are no guarantees that […]

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    The Overnight: Visit College Up Close

    by Terri Houston on December 21, 2018 in College Visits


    If you want a true sense of college life, do more than the typical college visit and spend a night on campus. You’ll literally become part of the school’s environment. When you walk across the campus, you’ll see, feel and learn what it’s like to be a student. In fact, the actual students probably won’t […]

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    Rethink How You Rate College Rankings

    by Kevin Krebs on November 9, 2018 in College Planning


    College rankings are fun to talk about, but families shouldn’t view them as the be-all and end-all when they’re building a list of prospective colleges. The reality is that these rankings are subjective. From U.S. News & World Report to The Wall Street Journal to The New York Times, every source uses different data points […]

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    Chicago Area Fall College Fairs

    by Dan Farnesi on September 28, 2018 in Dates and Deadlines


    ’Tis the season to try to make sense out of the heavily populated college landscape. Fortunately, there’s plenty of help out there. Here’s a list of upcoming fall 2018 college fairs in the Chicago area for you to mark on your calendar:   CHICAGO NATIONAL COLLEGE FAIR When: September 29, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Where: McCormick […]

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    1,001 Backpacks for Haiti and Home

    by Dan Farnesi on August 29, 2018 in PFA News


    Partners For Achievement is excited to announce its new service project for 2018: 1,001 Backpacks for Haiti and Home. We are teaming up with students from more than 15 Chicago area high schools to collect new and gently used backpacks and school supplies. This project is a follow up to last year’s inaugural PFA service […]

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    When to Fill Out Additional Information on The Common App

    by Kevin Krebs on August 17, 2018 in College Application


    One of the great mysteries of The Common Application seems to be the “Additional Information” section. Many applicants leave it blank because they’re not sure what should go there.   And in many cases, it’s okay to leave that space blank. Unless you’re providing information that adds value to your application package, it may not […]

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    Students’ Social Media Matters to Colleges

    by Terri Houston on July 19, 2018 in College Admissions Counseling


    If you don’t think colleges are paying attention to what you’re posting on social media, you’re mistaken. For proof, look no further than Harvard University. In 2017, Harvard rescinded at least 10 acceptances after learning about offensive content those students had shared on Facebook.   I expect this type of pattern to continue. Look for […]

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    How to Stand Out on Highly Selective College Applications

    by Kevin Krebs on July 12, 2018 in College Admissions Counseling


    If you’ve determined you might be a good fit for applying to highly selective schools, there’s more to consider than your GPA and test scores. Those types of colleges look beyond pure academic achievement. They also pay close attention to demonstrated intellectual interest or curiosity, also called the standout factor.   Highly selective schools expect […]

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    What is Demonstrated Interest?

    by Kevin Krebs on June 26, 2018 in College Admissions Counseling


    In many ways, the college admissions process is a game. You need to understand all the rules of the game in order to maximize your chances for success, and “demonstrated interest,” or taking extra measures to show that you want to attend a particular school, is among the key aspects.   Colleges are always concerned […]

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    How to Choose Likely, Target and Reach Schools

    by Kevin Krebs on June 13, 2018 in Building a College List


    High school students often enter into the process of searching for a likely, target or reach college with unrealistic expectations, both positively and negatively.   Recently, I met with a Partners For Achievement student who had 20 schools on her list, all of which were the most selective in the nation, including Ivy Leagues, the […]

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